Not just TV by the Bay

Not just TV by the Bay

During school days, the pressure of the academic year leaves little scope for children to pursue anything substantial outside their curriculum. But it is a known fact that when too much emphasis is placed on a narrow set of academic tasks, children fail to develop life skills. In such a situation, the only time left for children to engage in non-academic activities is the summer vacation. Yet, most parents complain that their little ones do little other than watch TV. While watching TV for sometime everyday is not bad at all, being glued to it all the time can be detrimental to the child’s proper development.

Rati Bosekar and Shweta Phadke, two primary teachers from the city, recently went to Pune’s Bal Bhavan Institute to learn techniques of how to distract youngsters from watching too much TV and attract them to extra-curricular activities. After spending 15 days in Pune, the two women are now putting to use what they learnt at a camp for city children.   Called "Hasa, Khela, Nacha aani Pustakahi Vaacha", (translated, as laugh, play, dance and even read books), the camp began on May 01 and will continue through May 15 including weekends. 45 children aged between 4 and 10 years from various city schools participating in this innovative camp. There are two batches – 9 am to 11 am everyday at Saraswati Mandir Trust and 5 to 7pm at Ghantali Maidan. The primary objective of the camp is to promote a wholesome development of the children.  

The camp ensures that these children spend at least two hours away from the idiot box everyday and indulge in outdoor and indoor games, physical activities, painting, craft, singing, reciting slokas, reading story books several such non-academic activities. Everyday for about 15-20 minutes, the children are left free in the open with no restrictions on how to conduct themselves. Not worried about getting dirty or soiling their clothes, the children experience a different kind of freedom that they seem to have forgotten.   The children have learnt new outdoor and indoor games that they can play with their friends.

The camp agenda includes educational visits too. So the children were taken to a small picnic to a nearby botanical garden where they were given familiarised with the various types of plants and trees. On Saturday and Monday, the two batches were taken to Bolinjkar’s Workshop where Ganpati idols are made. Bolinjkar’s idols are one of the most popular in the state and the children learnt how the idols are moulded from plaster of Paris. Many parents too accompanied their children to this one, as even they had never had an opportunity to see how the idols are crafted. Then, to foster the spirit of creativity, the two teachers decided to give a little chunk of plaster of Paris to the children on the next day and asked them to create anything they could imagine. Inspired by their previous day’s visit to the idol factory, the children made beautiful artefacts – elephants, fish and whatever else their imaginations permitted. Next, the children will learn to prepare their own meals – simple stuff such as a sandwich – and eat.

The camp will be over tomorrow. But by then the children would’ve learnt newer, more exciting ways of keeping busy and happy. Going by the camp’s agenda, these children will play the new games they’ve learnt, paint or create new objects, read stories, allow their imaginations to run riot and then, if there’s still time left, watch TV.

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